[THE INVESTOR] Kia Motors, the nation’s second largest carmaker, plans to release its latest subcompact SUV Stonic in Europe in the third quarter.
“Stonic shipments to Europe will start sometime in the third quarter,” said Seo Bo-won, Kia’s domestic marketing director, at the car’s unveiling event on July 13.
“After Europe, the car will be launched in other markets, including Asia,” he added, without further elaborating.
In Europe, both the gasoline and diesel powertrain will be offered, unlike in the Korean market where only the diesel option is available for now. Kia is planning to add the gasoline powertrain here within this year.
Kia President Park Han-woo (left) and Executive Vice President Kim Chang-sik at the Stonic launching event in Seoul.
As for the all-important US market, the carmaker is still mulling its entry, unlike Hyundai’s Kona subcompact SUV that will debut in December.
While industry watchers say Kia is ruling out a US entry to avoid clashing with its bigger corporate sibling in the relatively small compact SUV segment in the country, Kia denied the claims. It said there was no reason to compete, since Kona and Stonic are two different cars with different designs and specs catering to distinctively different customers.
With Stonic, Kia completes its extensive SUV lineup that ranges from the largest Mohave, to midsize Sorento, smaller Sportage, eco-friendly focused Niro and box-type Soul.
Stonic’s main selling point is its affordability, according to the carmaker. The price tag starts at 18.95 million won (US$16,680), the cheapest diesel car among its compact car rivals, and reaches up to 22.65 million won for the highest Prestige trim.
Powered by 1.6-liter diesel engine mated to a seven-speed double clutch transmission, Stonic delivers maximum 110 horsepower and 30.6 kilogram-force meters torque. Its fuel economy stands at 17 kilometers per liter.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)